It’s fair to say we’ve got it pretty good right now. But let’s be realistic – this amazing autumn won’t last forever. Soon enough, the weather will be down, the roads will be slick and muddy and it’ll be dark before tea time. Face facts: winter is just around the corner!
But you’re not made of sugar, and your coveted bike is a lot tougher than you sometimes give it credit for. With the right gear and a bit of know-how you can keep pedaling through the winter months – and ensure your steed rides like it’s still high summer.
Follow our top tips for winter-proofing your bike, and keep it out of the workshop and on the road or trails.
Make sure you check out our competition below to be in with a chance of winning a Blackburn Design light set worth £50!
Treat bearings and mountain bike pivots – including your headset and bottom bracket – to a dab of decent, water-repellent grease. We’d recommend Park Tool’s Polylube (£5.99 a tube).
Give the chain and drive train a good clean after grotty rides and leave them to dry before applying a quality wet lube such as Muc Off’s ceramic – £11.99 / 120ml – recommended by Singletrack MTB magazine. Buy one and get a FREE bottle of Muc Off ceramic dry lube to stash away until summer!
Disperse water from fiddly moving parts like shifters and mechs with a quick blast of a light lubricant spray like perennial fave GT85 (£5.99). Spraying it on the frame will help discourage mud from sticking, but keep it away from your brake pads and rotors.
2. Full-length gear and brake cable outers
Dirty gear cables can result in poor shifting, and the last thing you want on a muddy ride in the dark is a stuck derailleur.
If your frame allows, consider running full-length cable outers to help minimise crud build-up, and think about going the extra mile with a fully-sealed system like Fibrax’s Pro-formance cable set. (£29.99)
It’s not a fashion show on the hill, and any thoughts of preserving your trail cred and your bike’s clean lines will be long forgotten the first time you find yourself blinded by trail muck and careening towards a high-speed impact with the nearest oak tree!
Muckynutz’s super-light front Bender Fender mudguards are a cost-effective (£8.99) way to keep the muck off your mush, and Crud’s Racepac set (£22.99), which bagged an MBUK ‘Most Wanted’ accolade – includes the legendary, downtube-mounted Crudcatcher paired with a similarly styled rear guard.
Roadies might want to check out Crud’s Road Racer Mk 2 guards – £29.99 for the set.
4. Ground control
A bit of slip and slide makes winter riding fun – but you want some predictability in your drifts and a set of mud tyres will help you stay on the straight and narrow.
Panaracer’s Trailraker has been designed in Britain, with the worst UK weather in mind. ‘The nearest you’ll get to football boots for your bike’, say Bikeradar.
The Maxxis Beaver is another great go-to winter tyre that has been a favourite of MBUK staff writers for years, and it’s also one of the lightest 29-er mud tyres on the market.
For Tarmac duties, you won’t get much better than Schwalbe’s Durano Plus winter tyre, which has the added bonus of being puncture-resistant. (£37.99)
5. Light it up!
Advances in LED technology mean these days you can carry the light of a thousand suns in your pocket or – preferably – mounted on your lid or handlebars, which is good news as the clocks go back on Sunday October 26th!
For trail riding, Moon’s top-of-the-range X1300 includes an SOS Morse code setting in case you get really stuck. RRP £239.99.
At £179.99 Luu’s Extreme Torch offers entry-level lighting for trail riding – or a very effective road light.
£89.99 gets you a front and rear pairing from Cateye – the Volt 300 and 50. They charge from USB and interchangeable Li-on battery cartridges mean you can swap the front for the rear when it starts running low.
And at £50 we have the Blackburn Design Local 75 and 20. Out in front, the two bright LEDs push out 75 lumens with three beam modes allowing you to adjust light intensity and battery runtime for your rides. 3XAA batteries power the unit for up to 44 hours on low. At the back, the 20-lumen safety light has an alloy shell for durability and a large lens/power button which makes it easy to turn on & off while pedaling or wearing gloves.
To win one of these light sets – enter our competition below!
6. Finally – winterise yourself!
There’s no point kitting out your bike if your togs leave you too cold and wet to enjoy it – you need to weatherproof your body, too.
Altura’s Mayhem jacket (£99.99) treads the very fine line between breathability and waterproofing with finesse. Their Attack 360 (£149.99) ups the ante and is the brand’s do-it-all, go everywhere, ride in any weather flagship waterproof. It bagged a four-star review in What Mountain Bike mag and you can see it being being put through its paces in this stylish vid.
Shimano MW81 waterproof winter SPD boots (£159.99) keep the wet out at the heat in, thanks to a breathable Gore-tex lining. and you can maintain your cockpit command by keeping your digits dry with Altura’s Nevis waterproof gloves (£19.99).
On the road, Altura’s lightweight Pocket Rocket jacket (£69.99) keeps the weather at bay, and Nightvision overshoes (£34.95) ensure your feet stay dry.
WIN A BLACKBURN DESIGN LIGHT SET:
To win a Blackburn Design light set worth £50, hit the blue ‘Click to Enquire’ button right at the bottom of the page, enter your details with ‘competition’ in the subject line and answer the following question:
How many beam modes does the Blackburn Design Local 75 front light have?
We’ll pick a winner in early November – good luck!